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Ravens News 8/2: AFCN predictions, Andrews’ breakout and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Andrews Appears Primed for a Breakout Season - Clifton Brown

“I still have a ton to prove,” Andrews said following Thursday’s practice. “In my head, I have high expectations and I plan to meet them, but I’m excited for this year. We’re going to have a bunch of great guys. There are a lot of great skill position guys that it’s going to be tough for defenses to stop. It’s kind of a pick-your-poison type of thing. It’s going to be a fun year, and I’m super excited.”

“I’ve kind of always prided myself as a guy to get those YAC [yards after catch] yards, being able to make a guy miss or going over the top,” Andrews said. “I’ve always felt like I have a good knack for that. I’ve worked a lot. I know what my bread and butter is, catching routes, getting open and getting yards after the catch. So, that was definitely something I focused on as well. I think the game has just slowed down a ton for me.”

PFF looks back at Ed Reed’s Hall of Fame career with the Baltimore Ravens - Gordon McGuinness

From 2006 to 2012, the stage of Reed’s Ravens career that we have graded, he produced the highest coverage grade of all safeties in the NFL. That span included 47 interceptions compared with just 16 touchdowns allowed where Reed was the primary coverage defender. He also had 41 pass breakups in that span and was never too far away from the ball. The 2008 and 2009 seasons were Reed’s peak PFF years, with a PFF coverage grade of 96.5 in that span. Not surprisingly, that was the best in the NFL. Only three other safeties managed to produce PFF coverage grades above 90.0 but Reed was the only one above 92.0, and he was comfortably above that mark.

Truly great players make their presence felt in the playoffs too, and Reed did just that. Since we began grading in 2006, only two safeties have produced PFF coverage grades of at least 90.0 having played a minimum of 250 playoff coverage snaps, and none have graded higher than Reed. His playoff resume boasts defensive touchdowns and interceptions of future Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Including the four years that we don’t have grading for, Reed’s nine career postseason interceptions are tied with fellow safeties Ronnie Lott and Bill Simpson for the most in NFL postseason history.

NFL predictions 2019: Browns built to top Steelers and Ravens in AFC North - Bill Bender

Baltimore Ravens

We know the defending division champs will continue to implement an offense that both maximizes Lamar Jackson’s talent and allows for his improvement as a passer. Joe Flacco, Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosley are gone. Mark Ingram and Earl Thomas are among the key additions, and Jackson also has a new top target via the draft in Marquise Brown.

If the Ravens win the division, we won’t be surprised, but they have to do better than a 2-2 split this year against the Browns and Steelers.

AFC North: 2019 picks

Cleveland Browns (11-5)

Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6)

Baltimore Ravens (8-8)

Cincinnati Bengals (5-11)